Once, in an American forest, I was mistaken for a grizzly bear. I caused blind panic among several field-tripping school parties and received a stern reprimand from the county sheriff. It seems neither public nakedness nor raiding unattended picnic baskets are okay in that particular corner of the Land of the Free.

Some aspects of that first paragraph might be fabricated. But it’s true I’m a great admirer of Ursus arctos horribilis. Heck, there’s a creature that knows how to prep properly for winter.

Winter is often a time for letting go. No-one’s really looking, so… Netflix, gargantuan bowl of saturated fats, and gravity, do your worst. 

But it needn’t be that way.

Bears emerge from winter’s dark dank days fighting fit to dodge honeybees and swat leaping salmon. We can easily emulate them. And look, bears hibernate for months. If we put in just a fraction of the preparatory effort they do to make it through, we’ll be winning.

Here are my top five bear necessities for surviving winter:

  1. Conditioning
    A calm, sunny winter’s day, you and your Pashley. Nothing beats it. Gentle exercise. Vitamin D. Fresh bracing air. Dang, you look good. If wolf whistles were still socially acceptable, you’d get one. No question. And if it’s seriously parky out, pop on a seat cover to un-numb the bum.
  2. Companionship
    Contradiction time. I said nothing beats you and your Pashley on a winter’s day. Nothing except you, your Pashley and your best furry four-legged buddy. Sitting up there all safe, secure and king-of-the-castle proud in a Buddyrider pet seat. That will warm the cockles of your heart, whatever they are.
  3. Cosiness
    Bears hibernate in caves. Fashion-forward go-getters like you slow the heart rate by wrapping up in an exquisite throw blanket by Bronte Moon. That, my friends, is what nirvana feels like.
  4. Den maintenance
    Like a bear, you’ll be spending a lot of time inside. Unlike bears, you’ll be asleep only about 80 percent of the time. Give your den a soul-lifting colourful makeover with a set of limited edition art prints by renowned Christchurch artist Paul Rees.
  5. Paw protection
    I’ve never asked a bear, but I imagine keeping the creepers toasty is a pretty high priority. You don’t need pine straw and your own dung to warm and protect your toes. Slide your steppers into a pair of London Socks. Now that’s what it feels like when a kitten bats a ball of wool. In a room filled with duck down. While watched by butterflies and sleepy new-born babies.

Right. I’m off for an all-over body wax before I mix any more metaphors into this blog. It’s a condition of my Good Behaviour Bond with the US National Park Service.